Theresa May spoke to the Bank of England on the morning of 28 September. The Prime Minister used the opportunity to express her support for the failing policy of austerity. She told the bank that the UK must be tough on public spending and continue to promote free-market economics. She stated that the latter was the:
greatest agent of collective human progress ever created
we should never forget the immense value and potential of an open, innovative free market economy.
Her cruellest U-turn
Since coming to office in the wake of the July 2016 Brexit fiasco, May has earned a reputation for U-turning. She has repeatedly stated a position on something, such as calling a general election, or the dementia tax, then done the opposite. Now she appears to have changed her position on austerity.
At the beginning of her administration, she was championed by the right-wing media as a new kind of Conservative. She promised to create a “country that works for everyone” and look out for those who were ‘just about managing’. And in June 2017, her government signalled that it would end austerity.
This proved to be a false hope. She told the bank that under free-market economics:
participation in cultural life is extended and more people have the chance to contribute
Yet during her fourteen months in power, funding cuts to emergency services, healthcare, and other public services have continued. This has taken place alongside the lowering of corporation tax paid by big business, which has been a keynote Conservative policy since 2010. As a result, Britain has become the most unequal society in Europe.
A new mainstream?
Since the Thatcher era, neoliberalism remained unchallenged for many years. Voters had no choice. The elite became enriched, while the working classes found themselves reduced to zero-hours contracts and food-banks. Yet now an alternative does exist.
Never has Britain’s choice been so stark.
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– You can also read more Canary articles about austerity here.
Featured image via David Mirzoeff
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